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ASSESSMENT & LESSONS LEARNED FROM AFRICAN DIASPORA MARKETPLACE November 4, 2011 This publication was produced for review by the Office of the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by Manuel Orozco and Mariellen Jewers, Inter-American Dialogue


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  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace i




    November 4, 2011

    This publication was produced for review by the Office of the United States Agency for International Development.

    It was prepared by Manuel Orozco and Mariellen Jewers, Inter-American Dialogue

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace ii

    Prepared for the United States Agency for International Development, USAID Contract

    Number AID-EEM-A-00-06-00001.

    Implemented by A + Government Solutions, 1900 N Beauregard St # 105 Alexandria, VA 22311-1736

    Phone: +1 (703) 379-7772

    Fax: +1 (703) 379-7807



  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace iii



    AFRICAN DIASPORA MARKETPLACE November 2011 DISCLAIMER The authors' views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace iv

    CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................................................. 1 1. Development and the Diaspora: The African Diaspora Marketplace ..................... 1

    2. Evaluation Framework .................................................................................................. 7

    3. Impact on Local Development ................................................................................... 10

    4. Grantees Business Performance ............................................................................... 14

    5. Design & Implementation ........................................................................................... 17

    6. Tentative Conclusions & Preliminary Recommendations ...................................... 19

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 1

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report analyzes the impact of the African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM), a pilot business

    plan competition and a private-public partnership between United States Agency for

    International Development (USAID), Western Union and the Western Union Foundation. This

    study assesses ADMs impact on local development and grantees' business performance.

    Overall, we find that diaspora partnership initiatives are important mechanisms to engage in

    local business development. ADMs impact, however, is limited due to factors internal to the

    design and implementation, and external to the ADM, such as local infrastructure or limited

    business experience by grantors. The ADM initiative produced many positive results. Several of

    the businesses brought innovative products or services to local markets. In the long term, these

    will have a diffusion effect on other businesses. The ADMs unique model of partnership with

    diasporas strengthened transnational family enterprises, and diaspora partners were major

    stakeholders and decision makers in all the businesses. Moreover, at least four out of fourteen

    ADM funded businesses promise to be sustainable in the short-term, and three more have solid

    prospects to succeed in the future.

    This study made an effort to understand the extent to which the ADM process, the diaspora

    engagement, and the financing itself influenced businesses success and impacted local development. This evaluation is based on interviews with stakeholders, and fieldwork carried

    out in August 2011 in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda as well as other data


    This report is organized into six sections. Section one describes the theoretical context for the

    ADM and presents a summary of our evaluation findings. The second section outlines our

    evaluation framework. The third reviews the grantees impact on local development. Section

    four examines ADM grantees' business performance, specifically their potential for sustainability

    and growth. Section five presents our assessment of the ADM design and implementation. The

    final section draws tentative conclusions on lessons learned and basic recommendations for

    future endeavors.

    1. Development and the Diaspora:

    The African Diaspora Marketplace Diasporas are increasingly seeking to engage in development in their home country and have

    initiatives and resources to do so. Their efforts demonstrate how they view their role in the

    development process of their home countries. Moreover, in that effort, they seek partners to

    share the outcomes from these ventures. The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) is an

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 2

    outcome of United States Agency for International Developments (USAID) realization of a

    diaspora driven demand to invest in home country business projects. The results of the ADM

    pilot are mixed, but promising. This section discusses first this trend in transnational

    engagement and the evolution of diaspora investment partnerships. Next, we introduce the

    ADM as an innovative approach to encouraging these partnerships. This section also discusses

    some unique features of diaspora engagement that ADM has fostered and a general description

    of the ADM grantees challenges and achievements to date.


    The economic activities performed by migrants vis-a-vis their home country are transnational

    by default because they include local and trans-border interactions. Those activities, such as

    remitting or investing, are often challenged by nation-state bounded views of development.

    However, it is important to note that the global nature of social, economic and political

    interactions is increasingly demanding normative and policy changes to benefit people.

    Specifically, it is possible to see a tension between the intermestic and transnational nature of

    human relations and nation-state bound rules of conduct.1 Seyla Benhabib2, among many scholars from varying intellectual backgrounds, rightly argues that:

    we are at a point in the political evolution of human communities when the unitary

    model of citizenship that bundled together residency on a single territory with

    subjection to a common bureaucratic administration representing a people perceived to

    be a more or less cohesive entity is at an end. We are facing today the disaggregation of


    Benhabibs assessment is clearly visible in the context of international migration and the ensuing

    processes that emerge from the economic and social link forged by migrants, their families, and

    the institutions (public and private) with which they interact. For one, globalization has

    increased a demand for foreign labor. Large and small businesses have increased their demand

    for foreign labor in order to raise global productivity and competitiveness. Moreover, the

    economic activities among migrants and their families have had direct implications on economic

    growth and development in a global context.

    Despite these patterns, a critical paradox is apparent: international cooperation for economic

    development is circumscribed within the territorial lines of nation-states. From a normative and

    policy standpoint, it is imperative to engage in development in a de-territorialized manner that

    allows for a more fluid fulfillment of the human condition and that includes migrants and/or

    diasporas in the development process.

    Migrants' engagement in a transnational lifestyle, characterized by both opportunities and

    hardships, features a paradox of distance and closeness, and often defines migrants as diasporas.

    In fact, activitiessuch as sending money home, investing in the home countryare shaped by

    a diaspora identity seeking to materialize a persons sense of belonging.

    1 Sassen, Saskia, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (2006); Losing Control?

    Sovereignty in an Age of Globalization (1996). 2 Benhabib, Seyla. Another Cosmopolitanism, Oxford University Press, 2008.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 3

    Diasporas have been defined as:

    sociopolitical formation[s], created as a result of either voluntary or forced

    migration, whose members regard themselves as of the same ethno-national

    origin and who permanently reside as minorities in one or several host

    countries. Members of such entities maintain regular or occasional contacts with

    what they regard as their homeland and with individuals and groups of the same

    background residing in other host countries.3

    Diasporas thus define themselves through relationships with the homeland, international

    entities, and host-country governments and societies, thereby influencing various dynamics,

    including development. One key consideration of these relationships is that they form, in part,

    as a response to changes in the composition of the international system (be it the global

    economy or the international political landscape) and to development or under-development.

    People leave their countries because of social, economic and political conditions there, yet they

    continue to engage with their homelands at various levels. Such engagement stretches the idea

    and practice of development beyond territorial boundaries.

    Because of these processes, taking diasporas and migrants economic activities into account

    when exploring development policy is not only justified, but also necessary. Today diasporas are

    subjects and objects of social change. Considering diasporas in a development framework is

    essential to understanding the context in which they exist, that is their transnational and de-

    territorialized space. From that point on, the economic activities of migrants can transform the

    material base of migrants, their relatives, and their societies.

    A point of departure to this imperative is the identification of partnerships that can bind

    individuals and institutions to implement policy pathways inclusive of a range of players, such as

    migrants, civil society, policy makers, development practitioners, or businesses. Diasporas are

    increasingly motivated to promote development in their home country on local projects to

    impact their communities. Diaspora investment partnerships, which are financing initiatives

    undertaken by migrants and another entity from either the private or public sector to support business

    in the migrants home community, represent an innovative approach to development and



    ADM is a pioneering activity developed by USAID to engage diaspora in the development of

    their country of origin. It capitalizes on this growing trend in diaspora investment partnerships.

    The ADM was conceived, designed and implemented on the premise that it would encourage

    and leverage productive diaspora investment in home countries, provide a stimulus for local

    economic growth and job creation, spur business innovation and achieve social development

    objectives. To date, it is also the most visible foray USAID has made in this new practice of

    Diaspora Engagement. The ADM is now in its final phase; all appropriate grant disbursements

    have been made and most of the grant agreements are nearing completion.

    3 Sheffer, Gabriel, Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad, 2006, pp.10-11.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 4

    ADM was a private-public partnership between USAID, Western Union and the Western

    Union Foundation. Western Union has significant presence in global diaspora communities that

    USAID operates in, and its engagement with these communities created a natural partnership

    possibility between the parties. ADM was jointly funded by Western Union, the Western Union

    Foundation and USAID. It was implemented by AED, Washington DC, under USAIDs FIELD-

    LWA Cooperative Agreement funding mechanism. However, Western Union, USAID and

    Academy for Educational Development (AED) were equally engaged in all aspects of the ADM.

    George Washington University, though not a funding or implementing partner, was granted

    access to all relevant ADM information necessary to conduct academic research on ADM and

    on the applicants and finalists.

    When first launched in mid-2009, ADM attracted the submission of 733 concept notes from the

    Sub-Saharan African Diaspora based in the US to develop businesses, or grow existing

    businesses, located in 19 Sub-Saharan African countries and 15 economic sectors. Following

    multiple rounds of screening by AED, 58 finalists were selected and invited to submit a full

    business plan and were therefore retained for the last stage of the competition. A second selection committee of 16 volunteers was assembled by AED and tasked with the final


    In January 2010, a Grand Event was held in AED headquarters in Washington DC to select

    the competition winners among the 58 finalists. This final selection resulted in the award of

    matching grants to 14 businesses. ADM program winners received a grant matching their own

    (financial or in-kind) contributions. Matching grants were offered in the range of $50,000 to

    $100,000. These businesses are located in 7 Sub-Saharan African countries and cover 8

    economic sectors.

    The following are the full names of the businesses that were awarded; those with asterisks

    were not evaluated here. We also include in parentheses the shortened names as they will

    appear in the rest of the report. These were: Global Telecommunications, PLC (Global

    Tracking), Student Card Limited (Student Card), Sproxil, Inc (Sproxil), Ansa Systems Limited

    (Ansa), Tek Consults [U] Ltd. (Solar Ovens), Aceritas Ghana Ltd (Aceritas), AMAD Metal

    Manufacturing PLC (AMAD Metal), MicroClinics Limited, (MicroClinics), E&M Capital Tek

    Corporation (Uza-Mazao), AACE Foods (AACE), EarthWise Ventures, Inc. (EarthWise Ferries),

    TAF PLC (TAF BioTechnology), AADT Consultants LLC.*, and Palm Fruit Processing Company

    Limited*. The fourteen businesses evaluated are alternatively referred to as a group as

    projects, grantees and businesses and ADM businesses throughout the report.


    These diaspora businesses are characterized by individuals with strong interest to connect with

    their homeland and a purpose to invest in their home country. One unique contribution of this

    initiative was to promote transnational family partnerships. Four out of the twelve projects

    evaluated were initiatives among family members living in the US and the homeland.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 5

    Table 1: Transnational Family Businesses within ADM

    Project Transnational

    Family Ties Note

    AACE (Nigeria) Ndidi Nwuneli and Mezuo Nwuneli are married returned


    Aceritas (Ghana) Investment partnership among three brothers living in Ghana,

    Netherlands and the U.S.

    Ansa (Ghana) Paul Ansah (Diaspora) is the son of Ebenezer Ansah (Ghana


    Global Tracking (Ethiopia) Zelalem Dagne (Diaspora) runs the business with his sister

    Elizabeth Dagne (in Ethiopia).

    TAF BioTechnology (Ethiopia)

    Michael Asamere (Diaspora) is the son of Tsega Asamere

    (Ethiopia partner). The product funded by ADM was managed

    by Michael and his sisters (in Ethiopia).

    AMAD Metal (Ethiopia) x

    Diaspora partnered with a local business entrepreneur, which

    as not a family member, but known to the diaspora partner.

    EarthWise Ferries (Uganda) x

    MicroClinics (Ghana) x

    Solar Ovens (Uganda) x

    Sproxil (Nigeria) x

    Student Card (Ghana) x

    Uza-Mazao (Kenya) x

    Note: AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated

    due to logistical constraints.


    Overall, the ADM exhibits partial success. The ADM projects have yet to achieve their goals

    and expectations. The table below describes the projects and illustrates the challenges and

    achievements to date of these grantees. Overall, most of the businesses were struggling to

    accomplish their goals, both programmatically and commercially. Some, such as AACE, are

    substantially promising and valuable as models of investment partnership. Others, such as

    MicroClinics or Student Card, are the type that could have been avoided from the outset, had

    there been a more robust design and monitoring system in place. As the table shows, not all

    projects have been entirely successful and many are works in progress.

    Table 2: Business Description, Main Challenges and Achievements to Date

    Project Description Challenges and Achievements To Date

    AACE (Nigeria)

    A food processing company that produces

    preserved fruit and vegetable products

    (such as jams and spreads).

    AACE has developed organically increasing

    production, expanding its distribution network

    and line of foods. They are growing and

    generating revenue.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 6



    Aceritas is a commercial goat farm in

    Ghana, which sells goats to other farmers.

    It raises Boer goats, a South African variety

    of goats, for Ghanas domestic market.

    Aceritas is moving forward with the breeding

    process but at a slow pace. Their measures to

    accelerate the development of the business are

    working (buy goats from Niger). In turn they will

    be able to grow in the near future.

    AMAD Metal


    A start-up business with a goal to

    manufacture a variety of metal products,

    including safety deposit boxes, furniture

    and electric switch-boxes.

    AMAD Metals management encountered a

    variety of delays and pitfalls in building its factory

    from scratch on land granted to them from the

    Ethiopian government. Problems included

    contractor delays, inflation and price hikes in

    cement. AMAD Metals most pressing problem is

    its inability to access additional financing to

    complete the factory and begin production.

    Ansa (Ghana)

    Ansa is an electric company that supplies

    power generators and regulators. It

    requested an ADM grant to train its

    employees to sell and maintain more

    technologically advanced generators.

    Ansa has been able to increase services thanks to

    the training of technicians, which allow them to

    improve their services. Their main need is to

    train technicians in more advanced power

    systems of an industrial size.




    Built an adapted catamaran with engines

    that run on sunflower oil, to be a safe, fast

    and environmentally-friendly passenger

    ferry on Lake Victoria. EarthWise Ferries

    has permits to dock in Uganda, Tanzania

    and Kenya.

    EarthWise Ferries has launched the first modern,

    safe, passenger ferry on Lake Victoria. Its use of

    advance technology limits their ability to locally

    source materials and labor. Because of their use

    of biofuel, EarthWise Ferries will have to charge

    higher fees to compensate for faster

    deterioration of their engines. Moving upmarket

    will diminish its social impact, as fewer local small

    business owners will probably be able to afford

    the ferry.

    Global Tracking


    Installs and maintains GPS devices for

    commercial vehicles. Global Tracking

    monitors driver behavior in real time,

    quality controls the information received

    from the devices and maintains the devices


    Generates enough revenues to cover operational

    costs. However, it incurred high and unexpected

    customs fees on its devices, which essentially

    cancelled their profit on the devices.


    (Ghana) A franchising model for rural health clinics.

    Prior to the grant MicroClinics had one clinic, it

    promised to establish more clinics during the

    grant period, and faced delays that could have

    been foreseen. It failed to identify a franchisee,

    and did not comply with the grant agreements


    Solar Ovens


    Market and manufacture Global Sun

    Ovens in Uganda. Solar Ovens have been

    investigating and marketing Global Sun

    Ovens for five years, but the ADM grant

    allowed them to actually acquire oven

    parts and rent a factory location in Uganda.

    The ADM disbursement was delayed, and did not

    arrive until the rainy season in Uganda. The ovens

    do not function at their best in the wet season,

    making them harder to market and sell in the wet

    season. There were difficulties in importing the

    oven parts and complications with the land

    granted to Solar Ovens by the government. A

    pending challenge for Solar Ovens is making the

    ovens affordable to their customer base. Their

    two options: mass production and establishing

    payment plans are not secured.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 7



    Generated a coding system and provides

    pharmaceutical companies with scratch-off

    labels of authenticity for products sold in

    Nigeria. Upon purchase, customers send

    Sproxil a text message with the drug code

    from the label, and Sproxil responds

    validating the authenticity of the

    medication and its market price.

    Sproxils coding system is working successfully

    and is being recognized among pharmaceutical

    companies. They have opened offices in Kenya

    and in India.

    Student Card


    A personal identification card for students

    and related software for students to

    facilitate electronic financial transactions

    for school fees and Ghanas school feeding


    The proposal was incomplete and the grantee did

    not demonstrate minimum criteria needed to

    start a card business, including cash liquidity, AML

    rules, marketing strategy or partners in place. The

    project has not yet completed its initial stage of

    operations and is struggling to find partners or

    additional funding.




    It solicited funds from ADM to branch into

    a new business venture, which was the

    production of plant clones for commercial


    TAF Biotechnologys work plan was not clear in

    its proposal for the ADM grant. It missed its

    milestones due to delays in constructing the

    laboratory and other facilities for growing and

    multiplying plant tissue for clones. In August 2011

    it was told that its building would be demolished

    for a state infrastructure project.



    A digital marketplace for farmers and

    supermarkets, hotels and others that

    matches sellers and buyers of agricultural

    products in Kenya using cell phone text

    messages and internet.

    Uza-Mazao has focused primarily on engaging

    farmers to register and use its services, but has

    not equally engaged buyers (such as hotels,

    supermarkets and others) to purchase the goods

    that farmers post on the digital marketplace.

    Without buyers, Uza-Mazao will not function.

    Note: AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated due to logistical


    2. EVALUATION FRAMEWORK This section discusses our methodological framework for evaluating the ADM pilot. In order to

    learn about the success of diaspora investment partnerships, like the ADM, it is important to

    explore whether these partnerships fulfill their proposed goals, enhance business and

    entrepreneurship and promote development. Our evaluation framework is composed of three

    prongs: (1) impact on local development; (2) grantees business performance; and, (3) the ADM

    design & implementation. In each prong, which has several associated indicators, we try to

    identify the value-added of the role of the diaspora partnership and the ADM investment in the


    Because of the structural differences between start-ups and continuing businesses, assessing

    them effectively requires that the evaluation be made in relationship to the short-term goals

    achieved and the investments potential returns. Therefore, when appropriate, we separate

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 8

    indicators on the basis of whether the business is ongoing or a start-up. (Please see Appendix 2

    for data collection and scoring process).


    The ADM has the potential to connect diaspora to other economic opportunities and to

    identify and support diaspora as agents of change through entrepreneurship in the diasporas

    homelands. First, whether these projects fulfill their goals to promote development depends on

    how well these projects match local needs. In this context, evaluating the local development

    impact of the partnership on the community is important. Local development impact is felt

    under various circumstances, including the capacity of the business to create ownership in the

    community, as well as the correspondence between local needs and the intended purpose of

    the partnership. Also critical is the sustainability of these ventures and their capacity to be

    replicated in other environments.


    Diaspora investments can promote formal Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) creation

    through several channels: (i) revenue generation, (ii) integration into the value-chain, (iii)

    business formalization, and (iv) access to finance. Evaluating the grantees' business performance

    vis-a-vis the determinants of success is central to the way in which these partnerships

    contributed to improve the business environment.

    The ADM project contributed a unique opportunity for innovation in various markets. Given

    the African context where small business development is still a relatively weak sector, the

    initiative is essentially needed. More importantly the model of partnership with diasporas is also

    innovative in that it strengthens transnational family enterprises.

    Most of the businesses would have not achieved their current position had they not received

    ADM financing. However, because the businesses request for funding was not commensurable

    to their needs, many underperformed relative to the ADM expectations (in milestones and

    outcome indicators). Thus, the facility did not duplicate funding, but, the grant awards were not

    sufficient to cover the operations many needed to generate revenue.


    Finally, these partnerships typically promise to programmatically help strengthen local

    businesses through increased demand for jobs, increases in locally manufactured materials, or

    improvements in the business infrastructure. Programmatically, these enterprises may promise

    to carryout activities that may exceed their own capacities. Thus, it is important to analyze the

    correspondence between the design and implementation of these projects, and the final project


    Design includes selection of grantees, clarity of program vision, roles, responsibilities and work

    plan, determination of outcome indicators and milestones, development of grant agreements,

    and communication among partners. Implementation measured the extent to which expected

    results matched ADMs proposed outcomes. The ADMs expected outcome was, in essence,

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 9

    one of two tangible products: a new operating businesses or the provision of a new product or

    service within a continuing business. Here we add to comparing actual outcomes versus

    expected outcomes, and consider whether the initiative is implemented smoothly,

    transparently, and in such a way that strengthened partnership among the various actors and

    increased the likelihood of similar funding mechanisms in the future.

    Design and implementation aspects have cumulative impacts on the programs success. ADMs

    pilot design showed some weaknesses that can be prevented in the future. In particular, poorly

    defined measurements of performance in milestones and outcome indicators hindered effective

    monitoring and evaluation of the businesses. Problems in implementation results were inherited

    from the constraints found in the design.


    Below is a synthetic table of the scores for each business in the three prongs of the evaluation:

    (1) impact on local development; (2) grantees business performance; and, (3) the ADM design

    & implementation. In the following sectionsthree (Impact on Local Development), four (Grantees' Business Performance) and five (Design & Implementation)we describe the results

    of each prong in more detail.

    Table 3: Synthesis of Scores, by Business, per Evaluation Prong


    Impact on






    Design &


    AACE (Nigeria) 84% 92% 74%

    Aceritas (Ghana) 72% 52% 65%

    AMAD Metal (Ethiopia) 72% 48% 50%

    Ansa (Ghana) 80% 80% 81%

    Uza-Mazao (Kenya) 72% 68% 66%

    EarthWise Ferries (Uganda) 92% 68% 56%

    Global Tracking (Ethiopia) 68% 80% 69%

    MicroClinics (Ghana) 64% 48% 46%

    Sproxil (Nigeria) 84% 80% 76%

    Student Card (Ghana) 72% 36% 33%

    TAF BioTechnology (Ethiopia) 76% 36% 45%

    Solar Ovens (Uganda) 60% 48% 52%

    Note: Each component was scored from a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest possible score.

    AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated due to logistical constraints.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 10


    DEVELOPMENT The impact of a local development project depends on whether they change the quality of life,

    improve material circumstances and increase upward mobility of people in the community and

    society, that is, whether they create development. ADM supported businesses in various

    African nations, with this in mind. We present indicators for assessing the extent to which the

    outcomes of projects in, through, and by, the diaspora enhanced development.4 Research has

    found that, for a development project to be successful, it must meet the following criteria:

    ownership (local control and participation), commensurability (i.e. correspondence to

    community needs), sustainability, and replicability in other contexts.5 We also examine how the

    innovative natures of the ADM businesses promise to impact local development.

    Table 4: Framework for measuring the development impact of diaspora projects

    Ownership Commensurability Sustainability Replicability

    Community members participate

    in decision making

    Community members participate

    in implementation

    Community members have

    control of project

    after completion

    Project meets basic needs

    Needs met are a development priority

    Implementation occurs in association or coordination

    with other institutions

    Project enables development goals

    Does not constitute a

    burden or entail

    added costs

    Has a long life cycle

    Resources for the project are easily

    available in other


    Institutional environment facilitating

    implementation is

    available in other


    The projects under the AMD show diversity among the beneficiary businesses impact. On

    balance, we find that the businesses brought innovative practices and technologies to local

    communities that could be replicated in other countries and regions provided that there is better financial and business planning presence and a stronger correspondence between the

    local needs and the investors interests. Though the impact of these businesses on the local

    economy may occur in the long-term, in the short term only three or four succeeded.


    Jenny Robinson (2002) wrote about the relationship between diasporas and development as being three-pronged: (1) development in the

    diaspora, (2) development through the diaspora, and (3) development by the diaspora. 5

    Manuel Orozco and Kate Welle, Hometown Associations and Development: Ownership, Correspondence, Sustainability and Replicability

    (2006). Web Anthology on Migrant Remittances and Development: Research Perspectives. March, 2009.


  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 11


    When considering a diasporas contribution to development, local ownership of the endeavor is

    essential, and providing tools for that ownership is essential. Although ADM businesses are

    diaspora-led, it is important to consider whether they also provide a means to transmit

    ownership or control of the business (in part) to the local partners, to legitimate them as their

    own. Ownership of a project can occur through participation in the decision-making and

    implementation process or by stimulating the local economy. The case of ADM is particularly

    ownership driven because the partnership included a local partner engaged with the diaspora


    A typical measure of a successful development project is the generation of the communities

    involvement in the business venture. A high degree of local community involvement in a

    projects design and implementation and use can indicate the initiatives long-term development

    impact because the group effort can increase community ties and trust. Traditional local

    development projects such as improvements made to the town plaza or extension of water

    services, which are able to demonstrate some level of community consensus and involvement can be considered to have generated more social capital in the process and therefore create a

    more successful development project. The beneficiary businesses within the ADM project are

    distinct from traditional development projects because of the type of diaspora involvement, and

    the costs and benefits of running the business have an inherent level of exclusivity. Whats

    more, businesses which require consensus among too many stakeholders may be less able to

    respond quickly to market shifts.

    While social capital generation within the community was limited for most of the projects,

    social capital generation between the businesses and the migrant community abroad was more

    successful. None of the projects included the community in the selection or implementation of

    the business venture. Surprisingly, the Kenya business, whose Africa-based partner has limited

    input in the business, managed to connect with local agricultural specialists and leverage their

    community ties to get important input on the product, and make adjustments. Given the design

    of the project, the businesses were not well-placed to increase social capital broadly speaking,

    but several did manage to generate important outcomes in this regard.

    In addition to having a local partner as owner of the entrepreneurship, several of the businesses

    exhibited fostered local ownership in the businesses. For example, the devices that Global

    Tracking offers (GPS tracking of vehicles) allow management to be more efficient of its staff by

    improving monitoring. In doing so, the managers have greater control over how the vehicles

    are handled, and care of merchandise. Additionally, the monitoring helps in lowering costs,

    increasing fuel efficiency and tracking timelines of deliveries. Ansa also provides the means to

    local businesses to improve the reliability of electricity and thus strengthen their control over

    their production.


    The degree to which a projects goal corresponds with the communitys true needs is central to

    its ultimate impact on development. The more a project reflects basic community needs, the

    greater its contribution to development. Diaspora awareness of the home countrys national

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 12

    and local development agendas is an important step to help achieve projects correspondence

    with development needs.

    For most, the ADM has allowed businesses to introduce improved production methods to their

    local community. The metal company in Ethiopia will introduce new safety regulations and

    production methods. EarthWise Ferries has implemented safety regulations for workers and

    boat passengers. Several businesses will help local markets more broadly both the Kenyan

    mobile business and the Ethiopian biotech company intend to improve agriculture production.

    Some businesses will demand locally produced materials, primarily raw materials such as sheet

    metal and sunflower oil. At present, most source their primary materials from outside the local

    community, but several intend to shift their sources to local suppliers once they are more

    established. A notable example is the EarthWise Ferries, which expects to source its fuel from

    local farmers. EarthWise Ferries renovation of Lake Victorias ferry route and maps are more

    examples of how the businesses are responding to local infrastructure needs. Examples such as

    these demonstrate the ways in which the ADM investment goes beyond strengthening businesses alone by also contributing to strengthen the demand for locally produced goods.

    Most of the grantees activities also correspond to local needs due to their innovative nature,

    though some are introducing more appropriate technology than others. Some, like Student

    Card is yet to match technology offer with the needs of the population. Global Tracking is a

    kind of business that meet the needs and demands of the local businesses and country road

    management. According to the Ethiopian government, road traffic injury is a major problem of

    public health. In fact, the World Health Organization places Ethiopia with the highest rate of

    fatalities per vehicle in the world. Because Global Tracking uses these GPS devices in

    commercial vehicles and monitors the drivers behavior, companies improve communication

    with their drivers thus helping prevent accidents. MicroClinics is another example of a project

    whose concept guarantees access to health through its centers. Had the business set its clinics

    in place, the impact would have been greater. As of now the only operating clinic offers much

    needed support to the community.


    Another important factor enabling the ADM projects contribution to local development is the

    businesses sustainability. A business is sustainable when it delivers the means to enable people

    to improve their quality of life and material circumstances. Sustainability also requires that the

    investment yield a long-lasting impact that does not burden the community or its future

    generations. By its nature, measuring the sustainability of a business requires time to make

    assessments. When diaspora-led projects rely on partnerships to provide public or private

    funding, one way to help ensure sustainability over time is to assess how the business will

    continue without such outside funding.

    Four businesses promise to be sustainable in the short term, and three more to succeed in the

    near future. Sproxil, Ansa, AACE and Global Tracking are generating revenues and should be

    able to grow on their own. While Global Tracking has not been able to generate a profit, it is

    currently covering its operational costs and shows possibilities to increase its number of clients.

    However, to be sustainable, the company believes it will need more capital in the near future

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 13

    (e.g. financing) to restock and increase number of devices. One of Global Trackings largest

    contracts is with Coca Cola. More business growth is possible since the local market has a

    tangible demand of this type of service for the long term. The potential target clients for the

    business are the enterprises involved in the transportation sector. In the last years, transport

    and communications amount to about 7% of the Ethiopian GDP, officials estimate. Sproxils

    operations are already generating revenue and selling their systems to local clients in Nigeria.

    As the company expands its product to other pharmaceutical companies, the business will

    develop an organic growth. AACE also have been able to reach a point of sustainability. Their

    distribution network has provided enough clients to operate in scale and keep sustained sales.


    Finally, businesses can make a successful contribution to development when their attributes and

    functions may be replicated with ease and do not depend on the local or unique circumstances

    of a community nor on a unique situation for the institutional donor. The replicability of the

    ADM businesses might allow for the establishment of regional strategies focusing on achieving a

    development goal beyond the effects on a single community.

    The innovative nature of these businesses renders them replicable. Even projects that failed due

    to difficulties caused by the granteesin the implementation or to lack of clarity on how to run

    a companyexhibit features that can be implemented elsewhere.

    The table below shows the scoring performance of each project in relationship to their impact

    on development.

    Table 5: Scoring of Projects by Impact on Local Development

    Project Impact on

    Development Sustainability Ownership

    Linked to



    Innovation Replicability

    EarthWise Ferries

    (Uganda) 92% 5 5 3 5 5

    AACE (Nigeria) 84% 4 5 4 3 5

    Sproxil (Nigeria) 84% 4 4 3 5 5

    Ansa (Ghana) 80% 4 5 2 4 5

    TAF BioTechnology

    (Ethiopia) 76% 2 5 2 5 5

    Aceritas (Ghana) 72% 1 5 4 4 4

    AMAD Metal(Ethiopia) 72% 1 5 2 5 5

    Uza-Mazao (Kenya) 72% 4 1 3 5 5

    Student Card (Ghana) 72% 1 4 3 5 5

    Global Tracking

    (Ethiopia) 68% 2 2 3 5 5

    MicroClinics (Ghana) 64% 1 4 2 4 5

    Solar Ovens (Uganda) 60% 1 1 3 5 5

    Note: AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated due to

    logistical constraints.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 14


    PERFORMANCE The SME performance indicators consider the long-term viability of the local market impact by

    analyzing the businesses sustainability and prospects for growth. We consider four areas of

    importance within business development: (i) revenue generation, (ii) integration into the value-

    chain, (iii) business formalization, and (iv) access to finance. Together, these characteristics can

    help ensure sustainability because they strengthen small businesses ability to overcome

    financial, technical, and networking constraints that they typically face. Consistent revenue

    generation and formalization, when taken together, increase an SMEs ability to obtain financing

    from a formal financial institution. Revenue generation allow entrepreneurs to invest in new

    labor and in technological innovations to remain competitive. Incorporation into the value-chain

    facilitates an SMEs ability to connect with other markets and providers, and helps the business

    maintain a steady cash flow, which ultimately feeds back into revenue generation. Finally,

    formalization allows SMEs better access to financing, which allows it to improve productivity

    and contribute more widely to the national economy.

    The table below shows how these issues apply differently depending on the kind of business

    evaluatedstart up or existing.

    Table 6: Evaluation Criteria Start-up and Continuing Businesses, SME Performance

    Indicator Start-up Existing

    Revenue generation Initial production at one year

    of operation generates sales

    just below or at breaking


    For businesses in operation

    for more than two years,

    sales increase by 20% and

    leave profits for reinvestment

    or shareholders distribution

    Value chain integration Production unit formalizes

    and carries out contracts with

    other enterprises in the

    commoditys value chain

    Achieve vertical growth by

    selling to larger distributors,

    adopting new methods to

    increase productivity

    Business formalization The business register its

    existence with the local


    Registration and licensing is

    expanded to most of its


    Access to finance The infusion of funding

    provides an incentive to

    financial institutions to

    provide additional funding

    The infusion of funding

    provides an incentive to

    financial institutions to

    provide additional funding

    Overall we find that businesses did not arrive at their desired goals. Some of these difficulties

    stem from the businesses lack of realistic plans and knowledge of business development. In

    some cases, the local environment (i.e. currency devaluations or construction supply shortages)

    did not contribute to generating revenue. Moreover, the time required to carry out the

    business constituted a constraint to meet ADMs expectations during the grant timeframe.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 15


    In determining the strength of revenue generation within ADM, it is important to separately

    analyze start-up and existing businesses, since it can be expected that start-ups operate at a loss

    for the first few years.

    Table 7: Revenues Generated, Yes/No, by Business






    AACE (Nigeria) As of June 2011 the company began to break even

    through sales of 10,000 a month.

    Ansa (Ghana) This company has been generating revenue as it is

    an existing business

    AMAD Metal (Ethiopia) x

    Global Tracking (Ethiopia)

    Sproxil (Nigeria)

    TAF BioTechnology


    This company has been generating revenue as it is

    an existing business, but none are from the ADM

    funded product.

    Microclinics (Ghana) /x Only one clinic was generating revenue but no

    information was provided as to the amounts

    Uza-Mazao (Kenya) /x

    This company has registered farmers so has an

    initial generation of revenue, but these gains are not

    predictive of ongoing revenues.

    Aceritas (Ghana) x This company has been investing resources to

    prepare to launch its business in mid-2012.

    Student Card (Ghana) x

    EarthWise Ferries

    (Uganda) x

    Solar Ovens (Uganda) x

    Note: AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated due to

    logistical constraints. Legend: x (No), /x (Yes, but with problems), (Yes).

    Six of the businesses were actually producing or providing services associated with the ADM

    funding: AACE, Ansa, Global Tracking, MicroClinics, Sproxil and Uza-Mazao.6 Global Tracking

    has not been able to generate a profit, but it does have consistent revenues that cover its

    operational costs. There was a new customs charge on the devices that Global Tracking was

    not aware of, which cancelled out the profit margin in the pricing for its first contracts. A

    business that has generated revenue since July 2011 is Nigerias AACE. As a food processing

    plant they have worked closely in increasing their distribution network with contracts with

    supermarkets. After nearly 18 months of being in operation, AACE has been able to generate

    revenue that covers the salaries of 9 workers, and US$15,000 monthly in sales.

    6 It was not possible to generate information on profit and losses. Not all businesses had accounting information at the time of the interview.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 16

    None of the start-ups are generating revenue, but several show promise. On particular start-

    up, Aceritas, the goat breeding business, has yet to raise revenue. Although originally Aceritas

    needed to acquire 100 goats to initiate the breeding program, they were unable to acquire

    more than 60 (20 of which were bought in Niger). They have not generated revenue, though

    they created at least six new jobs, and expect to be in business in two years. EarthWise Ferries

    also is on a trajectory to generate revenues once they begin their services.


    Most of the businesses had identified markets for their services, despite not yet producing

    goods and services. This access to market demand is primarily due to the innovative nature of

    the goods and services provided by the ADM businesses. A major issue faced by one Ethiopian

    company and a Ugandan company is unexpected costs in the form of customs fees and

    regulation. Because the products are new, it is impossible to predict these costs. EarthWise

    Ferries, in Uganda, had to accommodate for an increase in costs, associated with more

    expected breakdowns and shorter lifespan of its ferry engines from use of biofuel, by increasing its fares and shifting its consumer base upmarket. EarthWise Ferries has adapted its routes and

    done marketing across a wider array of consumers to tap into tourist, government and

    international business sectors.

    AACE and Aceritas are key examples where integration into the value chain has taken place.

    AACE has aptly and successfully moved up in scale not only adding employees and revenue but

    also connecting its products to wider distribution networks. Aceritas, the goat farm project in

    Ghana, has also been able to show some level of transnational and national integration, by

    consuming local raw materials, and buying goats from Niger and South Africa, which expanded

    its breed.


    Most of the businesses were formally registered before the ADM competition. However, the

    ADM did spur a few to register to compete for the ADM funding. For example, TAF

    Biotechnology registered in 2010 in Addis Ababa despite having been in operation for 15 years

    prior to the ADM grant. Of those that registered for the ADM funding, at least one was

    granted land by the national government. AMAD Metal, which was granted land by the

    Ethiopian government, is using the land to build its factory. Another business, MicroClinics,

    started quite late in its operations due to delays in obtaining permits and did not utilize the

    funding to complete three or more clinics as it had promised. In their case, formalization was

    incomplete because they lacked permits to establish the clinics.


    For most of the businesses, ADM funding made it possible for them to either start their

    businesses or represented a critical injection of funding to get their products off the ground.

    The support of ADM was mentioned as an important seal of quality for businesses looking for

    additional investment and access to markets. Beyond the funding, having the support of ADM

    may contribute to long-term sustainability. However, the ADM requirement of formally

    registering did not seem to have substantially helped in opening grantees options for formal

    financing. In particular, AMAD Metal was finding it difficult to access bank credit due to

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 17

    stringent capital requirements for new businesses, as well as nationwide restrictions on credit

    in Ethiopia.

    Table 8: Scoring of Grantees, by Grantees' Business Performance



    ADM Value-








    Value Chain



    (Nigeria) 92% 5 5 4 4 5

    Ansa (Ghana) 80% 5 4 4 2 5



    (Ethiopia) 80% 3 5 4 4 4


    (Nigeria) 80% 5 4 4 2 5


    (Kenya) 68% 3 5 3 4 2



    (Uganda) 68% 1 5 3 4 4


    (Ghana) 52% 5 2 1 1 4

    AMAD Metal

    (Ethiopia) 48% 5 2 1 2 2


    (Ghana) 48% 2 2 1 2 5

    Solar Ovens

    (Uganda) 48% 5 1 1 3 2

    Student Card

    (Ghana) 36% 1 2 1 2 3



    (Ethiopia) 36% 1 1 1 3 3

    Note: AADT Consultants (Liberia), Palm Fruit Processing (Sierra Leone), were not evaluated due to

    logistical constraints.

    5. DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION The project design criteria are structured to measure critical aspects of the design of the

    program, i.e. selection of grantees, clarity of program vision, roles, responsibilities and work

    plan, determination of outcome indicators and milestones, development of grant agreements,

    and communication among partners. Implementation, as understood by the community and

    diaspora leaders themselves working on the activity, provides a framework of the success of the

    development project itself, but not the impact. Here we consider whether the initiative is

    implemented smoothly, transparently, and in such a way that strengthened partnership among

    the various actors and increased the likelihood of similar funding mechanisms in the future.

    Below we illustrate the typical indicators that would be used to evaluate design and


  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 18

    Table 9: Evaluation Indicators Start-up and Continuing Businesses


    Smooth implementation process (this means, the bureaucratic process is free of bottlenecks

    or administrative hassle)

    Matched product delivery (ensuring that what the organization proposed to do with the

    resources at hand matched with what they ended up with, both in terms of the end product

    and its quality).

    In observing the ADM design, we found several limitations that may have affected the projects

    implementation. The ADM objectives and purpose was written down in the proposal, namely

    to support the entrepreneurial spirit and resources of the U.S.-based African diaspora

    community to promote economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa by facilitating diaspora

    direct investment (DDI) in viable small and medium enterprises. Nevertheless, management

    partners differed substantially in their perspectives of the purpose of the ADM, and staff

    interviewed felt that the ADM objectives were moving targets. There was disagreement as to

    whether the purpose of the proposal was to get diasporas to participate in a partnership or to

    promote business development.

    Central to grant approval is the review process and its outcome. Those who participate in the

    review are typically people with experience in the field and area of attention. Proposal

    reviewers included people in business or development; however, it seemed they lacked

    expertise on diasporas or on grant proposal review or the time to carefully review the

    proposals. Many of the proposals exhibited clear weaknesses in the design where a close read

    and review could have prevented their approval or errors in implementation.

    Other issues include aspects such as grant timelines and milestones. Grant timelines, which

    formed the basis for the grantees milestones, did not reflect their stage of development, and

    are not indicative of future success (see Appendix 3 for grantees milestones). ADMs

    structured timelines generated problems that grew over the course of the granting period. A

    timeline of 18 months is dramatically short when it comes to supporting small business

    development, and it is even shorter for a startup. This issue alone limits the evaluation of a

    business performance. The time it takes for a business to take off from an early stage of

    formation into an operational one can be as long as a year, and going from a startup stage to

    being fully operational, with material and financial resources in place, can take an additional

    year. These missteps from the outset set the grantees up to fail in achieving project milestones, despite their being tailored to each grantee. Finally, milestones were often about one particular

    activity or output (purchasing equipment, training, etc.), which even if completed would not

    mean that the business was sustainable.

    Outcome indicators suffered similar shortcomings as milestones, but for different reasons.

    Outcome indicators were uniform across grantees:

    Number of Direct Jobs Created

    Number of Unique Customers

    Profitability or Net Income

    Additional Financial Investment Leveraged

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 19

    Additional In-Kind Investment Leveraged

    However, these indicators failed to reflect the businesses type of operations and were not

    commensurate with the activities needed for good business performance. In the first case, all grantees were expected to provide evidence of number of jobs, number of unique customers,

    profitability, additional financing, additional leveraging. From the start, for example, not all

    potential businesses can be expected to be in a position to show new jobs or new customers,

    much less profits. Due to their innovative nature, many of the business were capital intensive,

    and therefore generating new jobs would not be an appropriate indicator of their success

    overall. Others, like most startups, needed time to work on job creation or to show any net

    income. More importantly is the question as to whether these are the type of indicators one

    should expect out of an emerging business. Inappropriate outcome indicators precluded

    businesses from performing well per ADMs expectations. Insufficient monitoring and

    evaluations missed opportunities to avoid delays in operations and to keep the businesses on

    track (though not necessarily on time) to fulfill proposed business activities.

    It is important to note that lack of planning from the outset and insufficient documentation of

    the ADM goals, budget for activities (such as monitoring and evaluation) and concrete

    indicators for success, was further exacerbated by changes in personnel. While changes in

    staffing is difficult to control, its impacts should be considered at the beginning of the ADM

    design process and steps should be in play to minimize the negative impact of staff rotation on

    the results of the granting facility as a whole. Institutional mechanisms for transparency and

    communication among the implementing partners should also be solidified and used during the

    design and implementation.



    RECOMMENDATIONS The ADM has the potential to connect diaspora to other economic opportunities and to

    identify and support diaspora as agents of change through their entrepreneurship in their

    homelands. As can be expected from people with different personalities, the ADM grantees

    highlighted different aspects of the granting facility that they were excited about and that they

    had hoped would have been more developed in the program. For example, Solar Ovens and

    Global Tracking diaspora partners were very excited about enriching the linkages between the

    grantees. AMAD Metal and EarthWise Ferries wished that ADM had provided more

    opportunities to network with investors. Both suggested a complementary

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 20

    mentoring/networking program for businesses in the US in the same sector to work with them

    as they develop their own businesses in their homelands. Several of the grantees saw the award

    as an honor in addition to the monetary grant, and they consider themselves as part of a first

    ADM cohort. It could be worthwhile to capitalize on this sense of belonging among the

    grantees by integrating them into future ADM iterations.

    Moving ahead, there are a few mechanisms that can increase the likelihood for success among

    beneficiary businesses of business plan competitions. First, it is quite important for USAID to

    improve its involvement in the selection and implementation process. This activity includes

    improving the design of the facility and introducing more oversight on the review of proposals,

    for example. A grant facility aiming to promote development through business enterprises

    share very similar characteristics in its design to other kinds of facilities. Specifically, the

    minimum components of a granting facility must include the following items:

    a) Definition of objectives that correspond to the mandate and goals of the facilitys sponsors;

    b) Clear guidelines for the application process (this component typically includes conditions to participate, clarity in the activities allowed to carry out, matching requirements, budget

    consistent with activities, expected results and risks) that reflect objectives;

    c) Proposal scoring mechanisms that serves as guidelines to reviewers to determine their selection;

    d) Proposal reviewers with expertise in the field; e) Monitoring and evaluation tools to track the implementation of the grant; f) Work plan outlining the management of the grant facility.

    Grant Amounts

    Fixing a grant amount is a measure that does not correspond to the specific needs of a

    particular project in search for funding. Rather it is best to evaluate every proposal by its own

    merits associated with its objectives, activities, costs related to the activities, proposed results

    and possible risks. The exercise alone is far more convincing and realistic to the applicant than

    submitting funding for a fixed figure.

    Selection Process

    The selection process could be improved to ensure long-term development impact involves

    working more closely with candidates to develop a sensible business plan that considers the

    business feasibility and sustainability, as well as gaps in knowledge and possible obstacles to

    implementation. Applicants could be accompanied by small business advocates in the creation of

    their business plan; in this way, they would benefit from the ADM selection process even if they

    are not ultimately awarded funding.

    Monitoring Tools

    Monitoring tools could be improved to better track businesses progress and preempt

    problems before they derail production. Some of the challenges that have slowed success in the

    ADM pilot relate to lack of understanding on how to take a business to a next level. Monitoring

    the process would improve this situation.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 21



    We propose a cooperation and partnership model between diasporas and governments for

    initiatives that foster diaspora-led development. The recommendation suggests adopting

    different modalities of cooperation that draw strength from the shared interests, purposes and

    endowment of governments and diasporas to enable specific activities or projects typical of

    development policy. The main focus of a partnership approach is to look into the operational

    aspects over the political considerations, without undermining the importance of the latter. A

    partnership in and of itself is a political choice by players to share their goals and resources on

    particular issues. There are also more instrumental considerations about the establishment of

    partnerships that pertain to the implementation of successful objectives. Deciding to engage on

    a remittance-related development partnership between diasporas, governments and other

    players involves different dynamics and steps.

    There are particular initiatives that meet remittance-related development goals through

    partnerships. However, the partnership arrangement requires an understanding also of the limitations and capacities of the players involvedgovernments and diaspora organizations in

    particular. It also depends on the expected results, instruments and risks.

    In this context, we find that current partnership practice and lessons learned on previously

    existing partnerships between governments and diasporas and other type of alliances show

    three main modalities:

    Policy or norm setting partnerships

    Environment enabling or instrumental partnerships

    Operational-technical intervention or resource investment partnerships

    Partnerships often include a combination of these modalities; however, there is a prevalence of

    one choice over the others.

    Policy or Norm Setting Partnerships

    These seek to set rules, agendas or standards relating to common issues. When it refers to

    remittance-related trends, an example of norm setting includes principles on money transfer

    practices, and scorecards on transaction cost.

    Environment Enabling or Instrumental Partnerships

    These are collaborative commitments aimed at facilitating an ongoing process, or ensuring,

    rather than shaping, the success of an outcome. This is also known as development through the

    diaspora, a practice by which diaspora associations or businesses operate as conduits of the

    development process. Examples include cooperative engagements to support the success of a

    particular goal, such as financial literacy, increased financial access for migrants. In these cases,

    governments and migrant associations partner with NGOs and international development

    agencies to facilitate the implementation of massive educational programs or information

    dissemination about financial access to families who receive remittances.

    Operational or Technical Intervention Partnerships

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 22

    These are also described as development by the diaspora, and is an effort by which migrant

    associations partner directly with governments and other agents to work in concrete

    development projects, contributing their own resources and participating in the implementation

    and monitoring, that is, shaping the success of the outcome.


    Diasporas and governments have expressed interest and willingness to partner to leverage

    remittances for development. For many, these expressions of interest have come with

    uninformed knowledge of each others counterparts (that includes assumptions or false or

    inaccurate projections), poorly prepared proposals for joint work, no resource endowment to

    contribute, or with the wrong interlocutor or environment.

    This section and the next offers a partnership model with diasporas that incorporates policy

    solutions to the issues that can further link remittances to development through a partnership that empowers all participants, validates their collaborative efforts toward development, and

    builds achievable results. The model considers these modalities, which are associated to typical

    partnership conditions to an efficient alliance, such as holding common ideas and goals held by

    stakeholders and joint and pooled resource commitment. This approach also considers other

    components that guarantee the implementation of a successful cooperative engagement.

    The main thrust of this model consists in promoting and achieving an engagement by which

    diasporas, government officials, local private sector entities, and international cooperation

    identify solutions to address problems associated to increasing financial access to remittance

    recipients. Such solutions are adopted by following an implementation framework that requires

    the recognition among stakeholders of key points:

    Partner Symmetry

    Clear Shared Goals

    Resource Commitment

    Commitment to a Timeline

    Trust and Accountability

    Communication and Information Sharing

    Measure of Expected Results

    Partner Symmetry

    In cooperative efforts, symmetry is a condition that demands first and foremost proportionality and equal sharing of responsibilities and commitments among prospective partners. It does not

    necessarily refer to equal contribution of material resources or to equal power positioning,

    but does not exclude this possibility. Partner symmetry is the commitment that all players will

    abide to the goals adopted, commit to the obligations assumed, and participate in the activities

    they commit. In a way, by agreeing to a symmetric relationship, partners are signing a

    contractual arrangement to work together while taking on the responsibilities, obligations and

    activities they have chosen to commit to. Partner symmetry thus establishes the basis of

    accountability among players. In order to achieve symmetry each participant must lay out their

    endowments committed to the partnership in full transparency.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 23

    Clear Shared Goals

    Clarity of goal sharing consists of an exercise by partners to intelligibly decide on and be aware

    of the goals to adopt and achieve. The act of sharing goals is a political decision by which

    participants commit to work together on a particular objective or common agenda. Therefore,

    selecting to work in such fashion depends on a) technical advice to equip partners with the

    skills to identify those issues that are more likely to meet the interests of players; b) facilitation

    to distinguish between development needs rather than wants; and c) intermediation to choose

    a minimum workable agenda. Goal sharing thus involves the capacity to have a formed and

    informed knowledge of the properties embedded in the achievement of a goal.

    Resource Commitment

    Partners are required to committing resources to achieve the partnerships goals. Resource

    commitment demands pooling endowments from various sources. It does not demand

    symmetry in the allocation but rather commitment to the promised resources. This

    commitment requires a strict correspondence between the means to achieve the activities in a

    project and the partners own endowment. Therefore, partners are to be in a position to

    identify their capacities vis a vis their goals, and seek to obtain and allocate those assets


    Commitment Timeline

    The ability to organize the project in the partnership according to a timeline is an important ingredient of success as it ensures the realization of the objective as planned. Moreover, setting

    timelines functions as a control mechanism that sets in place various stages of implementation.

    Partners are to commit to meet those timelines, and ensure that the objective is delivered or

    achieved as planned.

    Trust and Accountability

    Partners that engage on a collaborative agreement are to provide some minimum ingredient of

    trust among each other that assures the other of their intentions. Trust building instruments

    include the written agreements, resource and timeline commitments, as well as disclosures of a

    players institutional operation and the presence of a channel of communication with a reliable

    counterpart. Another important component of trust is the provision of access to information,

    knowledge and networks to aspects that can strengthen the partnership. Accompanying trust is the establishment of mechanisms that hold the partners accountable to their commitments and

    activities in ways that the operation is transparent and efficient. Accountability functions as a

    check and balance that strengthens trust among partners and motivates them to fulfill their


    Communication and Information Sharing

    The partnership requires that a line of communication and information is shared regularly

    among players in order to stay informed about the quality and progress of the partnership. In

    this case, a plan for monitoring and evaluation would be helpful to have in place. In the process

    of forming a plan, partners can clarify their expectations for the project and also solidify a

    baseline structure for communicating project progress among partners.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 24

    Measure of Expected Results

    The expected results need to correspond with the goals set as well as with a measurable set of

    indicators that evaluates the extent of achievement to the proposed outcomes. The decisions

    to engage those components into a partnership are political in nature but operational in

    practice. In that sense the steps taken to adopt a partnership include a mix of these

    components that help players decide on their best choice. Of particular importance is to

    consider a framework on development impact. Considerations on development and migration

    include four particular indicators: ownership, commensurability, sustainability and replicability.

    Diaspora and government partnerships on development incorporate mechanisms that a) create

    ownership to the communities that benefit from projects; b) clearly distinguishes between

    needs and wants of the beneficiaries; c) ensures that the partnership provides the tools for a

    projects self-sustainability after its implementation and d) contains attributes and instruments

    that can be replicated elsewhere.


    Taking the first step to engage players to forge a partnership often times is the most difficult

    path to make. However, along the way, stakeholders find solutions to solve problems they

    didnt foresee. It is important to consider preliminary first steps (i.e. trust building, goal setting

    and communication) to forging a partnership. A second step consists of evaluating the costs of

    engagement, durability and expected risks. Third is the implementation of the partnership with

    resource endowment, a work plan with a timeline, and measurable indictors of performance

    and final results.

    Step One: Building Trust, Communication, and Setting Goals

    There are key issues to clear up as prerequisite to a partnership. Building trust among potential

    partners is a key component. In order for governments to trust diasporas and vice versa they

    need to know each other better, and remove assumptions or false expectations. That exercise builds trust. Many African governments often maintain a bifurcated and contradictory image of

    their emigrant communities. Diasporas are often perceived by governments to be wealthy and

    capable to become investors, parallel to this they see families of migrants as poor and incapable

    of building assets. The reality is mostly the inverse; immigrants are relatively poor (particularly

    those in Spain, the Netherlands and Italy, and less in England, France or the United States).

    Their relatives in the home country have improved their condition and have been able to save

    considerable amounts, albeit informally. Migrants and migrant associations also assume their

    home country governments are ineffective institutions and corruptible, with little commitment

    to work on development plans. On both sides there exists an absence of clear knowledge

    about each other.

    Similarly, through joint meetings, governments and diasporas can learn to communicate their

    views and interest, and craft with the help of experts, agendas that they can have a buy in into a

    partnership. Communication efforts include exchanging information about the right

    counterparts and interlocutors to deal with, understanding the institutional mechanics of how

    diaspora associations work and government agencies entrusted with diaspora affairs operate.

    Goal setting strategies are also a first step to establish a relationship toward a partnership. The

    process to identify common goals is essential and requires of the advice of experts and

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 25

    facilitators that provide information about issues of common interests and ways to select and

    choose those particular goals they see fit their interests, commitments and capacities.

    Step Two: Estimating Partnership Costs, Durability and Risks

    The second step looks at the partnership possibilities by considering the material circumstances

    and realities of setting in place a joint collaborative project. Three considerations to that are

    the evaluation of costs, the length of time to carry the partnership and project and the risks

    such engagement can entail. Evaluating costs is an exercise typical of an estimation of seeing the

    partnership as a project that requires a range of activities (organizational and operational) for

    its implementation. This review includes the assessment of available resources and resources

    (financial and human) needed to be raised to carry out the partnership.

    Accompanied to the cost estimation is the durability of the partnership and the projects. Many

    times the lifespan of a partnership is defined by the goal itself, and in other cases is not. There

    are long lasting partnerships that maintain an ongoing review of goals and objectives attached to

    concrete activities and expected results. Therefore defining the durability of the partnership as a means to a projects end or to a long-term collaboration is a critical decision and step. But

    also setting timelines for the partnerships activities is also important. As mentioned earlier, the

    timelines function as benchmark setting devises that help partners and on the ground

    practitioners attach to a particular timed structure.

    The risks of a partnership are equally twofold. There are grander political risks associated to a

    partnership between the diaspora and the government and other players. The second kind of

    risk is related to the activities that come with the partnership and include calculations of

    problems that can result during the implementation of the partnership. Many activities do not

    foresee risks that could result in the process because the expectations were not properly

    informed with adequate data, information, resources or expert advice. The components of

    these three elements however contribute to solidify a firm decision to proceed or return and

    re-explore the partnership. The third step to follow gives way to the partnership itself.

    Step Three: Partnership Formalization, Implementation and Evaluation

    This step is the most fundamental and foundational of the entire engagement. It is the

    formalization and initiation of the partnership by working concretely in any of the modalities

    adopted (norm, enabling or operational). The implementation depends on the articulation of

    the commitments placed (shared objectives, resources, expected risks), to develop the

    collaborative exercise. Through the process there exist a feedback between the activities and

    their evaluation, in combination with exercises of checks and balances to ensure accountability

    of performance in the partnership by the participants and the project itself.


    A final recommendation is utilizing technical advisors. The partnership can maximize impact by

    relying on technical experts that help determine weaknesses and areas of adjustment.

    Specifically, some businesses find themselves in a holding pattern, unable to grow due to

    uncertainty about next steps, including whether to obtain more capital, further modernize their

    production process, hire new workers, change raw materials, etc. Technical advisors can help

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 26

    find solutions in the short term. Some barriers that ADM businesses face, and which a technical

    advisor could help overcome include:

    Operations: Although participants had business backgrounds, many were venturing

    into new areas. Some businesses found it difficult to equip factories and start

    production. Technical assistance to fill gaps in business knowledge would be useful for

    businesses to fulfill their timelines.

    Financing: Several businesses had difficulties obtaining business development loans, and

    finding investors. A technical advisor could help connect these viable businesses with

    financial institutions interested in supporting them.

    Efforts such as these would ensure that more businesses overcome barriers that might

    otherwise cause them to shut down or, at the very least, slow business growth and limit the

    economic impact of each awardee. It is estimated that a part-time technical advisor could

    sufficiently respond to the needs of the projects currently in place, with the result being

    improved development impact within 2-3 years.

  • Assessment, African Diaspora Marketplace 27


    Management People interviewed:

    Sarah Mattingly, previous Technical Director for ADM, AED

    Laura Muzart, current Program officer for ADM, AED

    Paul Bundick, Director, Field-Support LWA, AED

    Nussi Abdullah, Deputy Project Director and Microenterprise Learning Manager, AED

    Romi Bhatia, Senior Advisor for Diaspora Partnerships, USAID

    Yvon Resplandy, Senior Advisor for Diaspora and Remittances, USAID

    Barbara Span, VP, Public Affairs, Western Union

    Thomas Debass, Director for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State

    Borany Penh, Senior Trade and Economic Advisor, USAID

    African Diaspora And Partners Interviewed, August 2011: Henry Adobor, Green Acres Goat Farm, Ghana

    Michael Asamere, TAF BioTechnology, Ethiopia

    Solomon Berhanu, AMAD Metal Manufacturing PLC: Metal Products Fabrication, Ethiopia

    Kojo Benjamin Taylor, Using Franchising Business Model to Improve Access to Healthcare in

    Africa, Ghana

    Raymond Rugemalira, Uza-Mazao(TM), Kenya

    Nwando Ajene, Processing and Preserving West Africa's Best Fruits and Vegetables, Nigeria

    Robert Smith, EarthWise Ferries Uganda Ltd: A company dedicated to restoring Passenger

    Ferries on Lake Victoria, Uganda

    Zelalem Dagne, Fleet Management System (Vehicle Tracking), Ethiopia

    Tenu Awoonor, Student Card: Creating a Cashless Environment for our Future Generation,


    Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil.com: Mobile-based Brand management & Anti-counterfeiting for Cash-

    based so